The Dutch interior and furniture designer Maurice Mentjens recently unveiled this new office for the advertising agency PostPanic – the company produces both commercial projects for the international advertising, retail, broadcast and music industries and its own internal projects – in Amsterdam.
“PostPanic’s projects are strongly focused on images and perception, and the design and layout of the studio directly influence that. This explains why PostPanic, when planning to move in 2008 to a new building at the Westerdoksdijk in Amsterdam, commissioned designer Maurice Mentjens (Holtum, The Netherlands) to design an interior that not only would be pleasant and workable, but also inspiring, and a reflection of the studio’s creative and headstrong mind.
Mentjens’ field of activity: an over five meters high, empty room on the ground floor, the big windows in the slanted facade overlooking the river IJ. Large concrete columns support the concrete construction.
In the briefing, functionality was the biggest priority. To ensure a constant quality, PostPanic purposely chooses to produce, direct, design and animate in-house to stay truth to their original vision, once in production. This approach requires that the various departments of PostPanic each have their clearly divided and defined areas. But at the same time PostPanic required to maintain as much as possible the openness and transparency that the place offered. The design also had to take into account that the workforce fluctuates from 14 to 40, depending on the different stages of production.”
Point of departure
“In his design Mentjens took the existing concrete structure, and more specifically the large concrete columns, as his point of departure. The distance between the columns defines the dimensions of the subsequent areas. The width of production room, meeting room and staff room measures the span between two columns, the studio up on the mezzanine measures twice this size.
By introducing the mezzanine, Mentjens creates the required floor space without compromising the studio’s open feel. Because the low floor height doesn’t allow a lowered ceiling, pipes stay on display. Combined with the large concrete columns, the smooth concrete floors, the lack of thresholds and the fluorescent tubes on the ceiling, this emphasizes the slightly raw, industrial feel the interior has to it.”
“The tall hall, a neutral space with bold elements, at the same time functions as the entry and as exhibition space, is in use for seminars and film screenings and acts as the office’s living room. Wedged between two columns is a monumental, oak grandstand that takes up a quarter of the studio’s width and doubles as stairs to the mezzanine. The grandstand is facing a screen that’s suspended above the bar. This detached bar, tiled in white tiles, is simultaneously an autonomous object and recalls an old-fashioned kitchen.
Parallel to the facade, diagonally placed, is a grand table, meant for reading and dining. This 16-seater (5mx1.20m) holds a lowering in its centre to store books and magazines. Bar, grandstand, table and screen together make up the office’s ‘recreation zone’. From time to time the employees, sitting on the grandstand, a beer in hand, enjoy a film or football match together.
Attached to the ceiling above the grandstand, an installation of fluorescent tubes radiates over the different areas.”
“Attached to two columns in the kitchen are two wooden beams that both serve as a bookcase and as a demarcation between the kitchen and the adjacent production room. Floors and walls in the production room are covered with a deeply red, Persian-style carpet, which softens the nature of the concrete and at the same time dampens the sounds. This semi-open space holds just one, elongated table (6.20mx2m). Employees store their belongings in trolleys that can be parked in a grey, open cupboard. The cupboard extends till the first floor’s handrail height and thus acts as the upper side of the staff room’s balustrade.
The meeting room – floor, walls and table carpeted as it being one single object – with its fluid lines resembles a futuristic grotto. Large wooden pivot doors separate meeting room and hall.
The mirroring walls in the edit room invoke an illusion of endless space. A carpeted niche in one of the walls forms a bench on which clients can sit down and watch clips. These clips are projected on a big screen that is integrated in a purposely built, glossy black edit table.”